Jordan invites Haniyeh and Abbas for talks to end violence
Jordan's Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit proposes talks will take place "when the appropriate conditions and climate have been prepared."
By JERUSALEM POST STAFFPublished: DECEMBER 25, 2006 22:05Advertisement
Jordan's prime minister has invited the Palestinian Authority chairman and prime minister for talks designed to halt the political violence that has seen people being shot dead in the streets of Gaza, the official Petra news agency said Monday.
Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit called his Palestinian counterpart, Ismail Haniyeh, to invite him to come to the Jordanian capital for talks with Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Jordan's Petra agency reported.
The agency hinted that both Palestinian leaders had accepted the proposed talks - it said they thanked Jordan for its invitation - but it did not give a date for the meeting, which is expected to be hosted by Jordan's King Abdallah II.
In Gaza, Palestinian government spokesman Ghazi Hamad said Haniyeh was expected to go to Jordan this week, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas would attend the talks.
Abbas, who arrived in Jordan on Monday, was expected to meet al-Bakhit in the evening to discuss the proposed talks and the situation in the Palestinian territories.
Petra said al-Bakhit was proposing that talks take place "when the appropriate conditions and climate have been prepared." Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh declined Monday to answer questions about the talks, saying he would not say more than was in Petra.
Tension has been running high for months between the Fatah party of Abbas and the Hamas party of Haniyeh. It intensified earlier this month after Abbas declared that efforts to form a moderate coalition government had broken down.
On Friday, gunmen connected to the two parties fought ferocious gunbattles in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, firing thousands of bullets and some rocket propelled grenades at each other.
At least 17 people have been killed and dozens wounded in the violence.
Last week, King Abdallah invited Abbas and Haniyeh to come to Jordan for peace talks. Qatar and Egypt have also been trying to mediate between the two leaders and their parties.
Hamas, which defeated Fatah in the Palestinian elections this year, has suffered a massive shortage of funds since taking office in March, causing thousands of civil servants to go without pay. Western donors, including the United States and European Union, cut off donations because of Hamas' refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence.
Numerous attempts have been made to negotiate a government of technocrats who would not belong to either party. But they foundered, partly because Hamas insisted on sticking to its policy of non-recognition of Israel.
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